[The following is a movie review of a movie I have not seen.]

You would/wouldn't believe (it all depends) on the amount of froth floating around over here in the states about Mel Gibson's bible story flick. I'll be saving my money, which of course I would have done anyway without all the hullabaloo.

Andrew Sullivan gets a bit hoity-toity and out and out calls it a porno film and a "deeply immoral work of art". Let's leave aside the moralizing about pornography. It's still rather delicious to imagine all those Georgian and Texan believers lining up for hours for their tickets, sitting through a kind of extended snuff flick and then visiting nearby "reflection tents" (yes!) where they can blabber to special volunteers about the Truth they have just witnessed. The truth is that being flayed alive with a whip, then nailed up and left to die is excruciatingly, awesomely horrible. And it's got very little to do with the actual point of the biblical story of the crucifixion.

As Gregg Easterbrook points out, Gibson - whom I nominate as one of the greatest PR manipulators of the past century of Hollywood history on the strength of this one stunt alone - is pitching his film as a true-to-the-gospels rendition of Jesus' execution. It just so happens that there is no agreed version of the ultra gory details of how he was tortured and killed. It certainly was not pretty. But zillions of people are happily going along with the pitch that the movie has some kind of seal of authenticity from above. (It's neat, too, that Jesus is portrayed by a hunky Caucasion actor dude. What if he was actually a slope shouldered shmuck with bad teeth and a squint? He'd still be Jesus.)

The same people that send money to tv preachers and feel good about it are sure not going to think twice about paying to see this blood fest. Think about what they grew up on:
Hollywood has indoctrinated audiences to expect to see violence glorified and exaggerated: Gibson now gives audiences a Jesus story in which the violence, not the spiritual message, is the centerpiece. This is a deeply cynical exercise, and one that results in money in Gibson's pocket.

Don't go.

Steve | 23:12 |